Days in Drift
Henri Maire, Rolet, Pinte
He's the man, not only in Arbois but in the whole of Jura. Henri Maire is the biggest producer of the region. Wine is produced in large quantities here and sold to busloads of tourists. But there are the crown jewels of the region, too: fine Savagnin, mighty Vin Jaune and tremendously delicious Vin de Paille. When we were here in 2002, we went away angrily without having tasted one single wine. The wites we had been interested in weren't offered to us in this hurly-burly - the big and sieged shop rooms equalled a pub.
This time we arrived shortly before closing time, and the shop was deserted. We could taste impressive wines that reconciled us completely. Simply mass and class. You have to catch the right time and proclaim your real interest - then it is a worthwhile address. We tasted the Savagnin and the Arbois Vin Jaune 1995. The latter had a bouquet and taste of walnut, butter yeast and dried apple, some pineapple and whiff of very good white chocolate. Great Vin Jaune either for keeping or drinking - whenever you want that. Even now it is appealing, but it is essential to open it some hours before drinking so that it can take a deep breath.
There are also fine wines at the Domaine Rolet, just a few meters down the road. They appear to be relatively modern, but both the reds and the whites were very pleasing. The red, fruity Arbois Pinot 2002 (out of Pinot Noir) and the white Arbois Tradition 2001 (out of Chardonnay and Savagnin) we liked in particular. Both can be drunk right now quite well.
From Rolet across the road and a few steps back: and there you are at the shop of Domaine Pinte. It ranks among the great producers of Arbois and has organic wines among its selection. We considered the Arbois-Pupillin "Melon à queue rouge" 2000 to be very fine - a fruity Chardonnay with aromas of peach and tasty acidity. The Vin Jaunes are very dense, the Arbois Vin Jaune 1998 has got good acidity and shows the typical aromas of walnut and apple. A good wine with definitely plenty of time. Even the vintage of 79 was still available.